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My youngest son has always had the opportunity to watch and copy his two older brothers at mealtimes and loves to be like his siblings as much as he can. Consequently, he was confidently (if rather messily) independently self-feeding from a young age and moved on to his own 'big boy's' metal cutlery set shortly after his first birthday.
I acquired this stainless steel cutlery set as part of a Vital Baby toddler weaning kit but the cutlery can also be purchased as a standalone item. The set, comprising of a single spoon, fork and knife, currently costs £3.99 from Amazon and is available in either a cheery yellow and orange colour or a bright pink shade.
My son was instantly attracted to his bright new cutlery and initially shunned all of his other plastic spoons and forks. I initially introduced just the metal spoon as I wasn't sure how a curious one year old would manage with a metal fork. I needn't have worried at all, as the cutlery is perfectly proportioned for small fingers and mouths and is perfectly safe for children over the recommended minimum age of 12 months to use, with appropriate supervision. All of the cutlery features a rubberised plastic coating around the relatively short handles, with slight indents along the length to encourage toddlers to grip this firmly and correctly.
The 'bowl' of the metal spoon is round and fairly flat. I found that my son had developed enough hand-eye coordination by the age of one to use this spoon independently, without dropping most of the contents. A less confident self-feeder would probably benefit from a spoon with a deeper bowl rather than this design. The fork is also flat with four sturdy prongs which are - unusually for toddler cutlery- actually sharp enough for practical purposes. My toddler quickly mastered the art of 'spearing' his food with this fork and took great pleasure in waving his captured target around in the air before attempting to eat it! The prongs aren't sharp enough to cause any damage to a toddler's mouth or newly emerging teeth, however.
The most disappointing aspect of this otherwise excellent quality first cutlery set is the knife which is completely ineffectual and can't be used for any practical purpose whatsoever as it is totally blunt. To be fair, this is true of all brands of toddler cutlery that I've ever tried but does really make me question the value of even including a knife in these kinds of sets as, for obvious safety reasons, the knives aren't going to be sharp enough to be able to slice or cut any foodstuffs, however soft. The spoon and fork are still used on a daily basis, now that my son is two years old but I rarely bother with the knife as my son just becomes frustrated with it. He observes the rest of the family using knives to eat their dinner and wants to copy but can't do anything at all with his blunt knife.
The knife aside, this is a perfectly robust and functional set. Ours has been cleaned in a dishwasher on a daily basis for the past year without any indication of any wear and tear or, surprisingly, any discolouration at all. Like all Vital Baby products, this set is BPA free and easy to clean after use.
This is another Vital Baby product that I'm happy to recommend to other parents, despite the rather ineffectual knife included. This is a practical and robust set which, for the most part, has the needs of increasingly independent toddlers in mind.